herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Nine dead including gunman after Czech restaurant shooting

A gunman opened fire in a restaurant in the Czech Republic yesterday, killing eight people and seriously wounding a waitress before fatally shooting himself.

It was the worst shooting attack in the country's history.

The gunman was a local, believed to be aged around 60, said Patrik Kuncar, mayor of the town of Uhersky Brod.

threatening

Czech public radio said the gunman called a local TV station before the attack, complaining that police weren't solving his problems and threatening to "take things into my own hands".

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who arrived at the scene, said the man had a gun licence.

"It was not a terrorist attack," he said, adding that the victims have been identified and were all from the region.

The gunman was armed with two pistols and reportedly opened fire at approaching police.

Petr Gabriel was in the restaurant's bathroom when the shooting began.

"That saved my life," he told public television. He stayed in the bathroom for two hours until he was found by police.

The attack shocked the town of 17,000 that lies 300km southeast of the capital, Prague, and is home to the Ceska Zbrojovka gun plant.

"Nobody believed anything like that could happen in such a small town," said Mr Kuncar.

The country's chief police officer, Tomas Tuhy, said authorities would not immediately reveal more information because of the ongoing investigation.

The waitress was shot in the chest and had hour-long surgery, said Dana Lipovska, spokesman for the hospital in Uherske Hradiste. Her condition was "very serious".

The Czech Republic has strict gun control laws, but hunting is popular.

executed

"I am shocked by the tragic attack in Uhersky Brod," said Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in a statement while on a trip to South Korea.

He offered his condolences to the victims' relatives and President Milos Zeman did the same.

In a tragedy of a similar scope in the then-communist Czechoslovakia, a female truck driver intentionally hit a group of people waiting for a tram in Prague in 1973, killing eight. She was later executed.

hnews@herald.ie

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